|Eric Ravilious, Bristol Quay, 1938|
|JMW Turner, The Avon Gorge & Bristol Hotwell, 1792 (Bristol Museums & Art Gallery)|
|Francis Danby, St Vincents Rocks & The Avon Gorge, 1815 (private collection)|
Bristol at the time was becoming something of a fashionable watering hole, on account of the allegedly health-giving waters of the Hotwells, so there was a market for scenes of the city and environs. John Sell Cotman painted an unusual, atmospheric watercolour of St Mary Redcliffe Church, while Thomas Girtin, Francis Danby and Samuel Jackson were among the many popular painters who worked here.
|John Sell Cotman, St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol; Dawn, etching after 1802 w/c|
Nash visited in the 1920s and then returned in November 1938, bringing with him Eric Ravilious. Nash had been trying to get Rav to Bristol for a while, but what really persuaded his friend was the prospect of the paddlesteamers laid up in their winter berths. These lovely old boats, run by P&A Campbell around the Bristol Channel during the summer months, were exactly the kind of subject Ravilious enjoyed, and the pair spent days and, more often, nights sketching them. The resulting pictures give a fascinating insight into the way each artist worked, and I also like to imagine them sitting side by side on the docks with their easels, each intent on his version, perhaps pausing to share a nip of something against the cold.
|John Nash, Britannia, 1938 (pic borrowed from Dru Marland)|
|Paul Nash, To the Memory of Brunel, 1939 (British Council)|
More on all of this, and on the fascinating relationship between Ravilious and the Nash brothers, in my talk at Foyles on Tuesday 6th December - yes, that's THIS TUESDAY, 6.15pm!